x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Al Ain should not be ignored, say voters

Al Ain candidates are starting their campaigns in Abu Dhabi.

AL AIN // The majority of candidates in the Oasis City expect to begin their appeal for votes or go door to door from next week.

Saif Al Kaabi, who has put his name forward for the elections, said he was spending this week on the phone making appointments with residents for next week to go door-to-door to hear of their concerns.

"Mr Al Kaabi said: "I anticipate that I will be visiting over a thousand homes next week during my campaign to meet voters, to introduce myself and to hear what their concerns and expectations are."

There were no campaigners at Al Jimi or Al Ain malls, nor at any of the city's hotels or at the convention centre yesterday, but one hotel confirmed a booking by an Abu Dhabi candidate for the third week of September, three days before the election.

"I suspect that the reason there isn't any major campaigning going on in Al Ain today is because the candidates are beginning their campaigns in Abu Dhabi, which has a higher population and therefore more voters," said an employee at Al Ain Municipality.

"There are candidates from Al Ain that will be campaigning here as well as in Abu Dhabi.

"If Al Ain was an emirate in itself and not part of the Abu Dhabi emirate, we would be as busy as the other emirates are today when it comes to campaigning," he said.

"I'm confident that in the latter stages of the campaigning period many candidates will be coming here. Al Ain has the highest number of Emiratis per capita and should be considered as equally important as Abu Dhabi."

Ateeq Al Anbari, 37, an Emirati merchant, said he had seen advertisements in the Arabic press and on the internet announcing the candidacy of several men and women who had registered in Abu Dhabi.

"I am sure their campaigns will come to Al Ain," Mr Al Anbari said. "They have to. It's not a city they can afford to ignore. This is a city from where many large tribes originated, where the elders of these tribes remain. "The elders of each family can have a large impact on how members of their families will vote. I'm sure the candidates realise this and will be campaigning here as well."

ealghalib@thenational.ae